Nicorette Gum and Breastfeeding
Research has shown that the nicotine in Nicorette Gum (nicotine gum) does pass through breast milk and may increase the risk for problems in a breastfed infant. Some of these problems may include vomiting, excessive crying, and difficulty feeding. However, for nursing women, it's generally considered safer to use Nicorette Gum than to smoke cigarettes. Talk to your doctor about your options for quitting smoking.
Can Breastfeeding Women Use Nicorette Gum?Nicorette® Gum (nicotine gum) passes through human breast milk. However, using this gum may be safer than smoking while nursing. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider before using Nicorette Gum.
Although Nicorette Gum has not been studied in women who are nursing, it is known that the active ingredient in this drug, nicotine, does pass through breast milk in humans.
The amount of nicotine found in breast milk after Nicorette Gum use will likely vary, depending on the number of pieces of gum chewed each day, and how vigorously the gum is chewed (this is because nicotine is only released from the gum when it is chewed). It is possible that using Nicorette Gum could cause nicotine levels in the breast milk to be similar to nicotine levels obtained with cigarette smoking.
Smoking while breastfeeding is unhealthy for both the mother and the nursing infant, who will likely be exposed to secondhand smoke, as well as to the nicotine that passes through the breast milk. Nicotine exposure may increase an infant's heart rate, interfere with lung development, and could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Nicorette Gum is generally considered safer than cigarette smoking during breastfeeding.
It is generally recommended that women first try to stop smoking without using nicotine replacement products, including Nicorette Gum. Quitting smoking is extremely difficult to do, however, and medications such as Nicorette Gum may help. Keep in mind, too, that there are many medications that can help people quit smoking (see Alternatives to Nicorette Gum). Talk to your healthcare provider about all of your available options.
If your healthcare provider recommends using Nicorette Gum while breastfeeding, watch for any problems in your nursing infant. Contact your child's healthcare provider immediately if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive or abnormal crying
- Difficulty feeding
- Anything else that just does not seem right.